Capernaum was an important town. It had a garrison of Roman soldiers and a post office. Many traders would pass through it, stopping here for business. Jesus came here to continue His task of spreading God’s message.
He would often go to the synagogue in the town to preach. Many people would come there to hear Him. They were impressed by His words of wisdom. Soon, Jesus became well known in the whole of countryside.
In the same town, a man named Simon Peter lived with his wife and his motherin-law in a simple house. Jesus would often visit them. One day when Jesus reached their house, He saw that Simon Peter’s mother-in-law was lying in bed with high fever.
Jesus went over to the bed and commanded the fever to subside. The fever disappeared and Simon Peter’s mother-in-law went to the kitchen and started preparing food as if nothing had happened!
Soon, the word spread about how Jesus had healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. By sunset a crowd had gathered. Among them there were the people who wanted to be healed and who were suffering in some way or the other. Jesus did not send them away. He healed all of them by laying His hands on them.
The next day, Jesus left the town to find another place where He could pray and preach about the kingdom of God. The people followed Him and tried to persuade Him to stay, but Jesus said, “I must go to other places as well, to spread the message of God.”
At Capernaum, there also lived a Roman centurion, an army officer in charge of a hundred soldiers. His servant was very ill and dying. The centurion had heard about Jesus, so he asked some of the Jewish elders to go over to Jesus and ask Him for His help.
The Jewish elders went over to Jesus and told Him about the centurion. “He is a good man,” they said, “and worthy of your help. He built the synagogue for us and has been very kind to our people.” Jesus agreed and decided to visit the centurion’s house to see his dying servant.
Jesus was near the house when some of the centurion’s friends stopped Him. They had brought a message from the centurion. It said, “Sir, I request you not to put yourself to trouble for me. I am not worthy enough for you to enter my house.”
The centurion continued, “If you just say the word, my servant will be healed. You have the authority similar to mine. If I just command a soldier to come or go, he does my bidding instantly.”
Jesus was surprised by such display of faith. He praised the centurion in front of the crowd that had followed Him. Meanwhile, the servant had got healed completely, by the time the messengers returned!
Once, Jesus told the crowd, who had gathered around Him, a story about a farmer. The farmer walked up and down the field while scattering the seeds all around. The seeds fell at different places.
Some seeds fell on the path and the birds came and ate them up. Some seeds fell on the rocks, where the plants grew for a short time and died in the heat of the sun.
Some seeds fell in the thorns, which grew faster than the plants, choking them. But some seeds fell on rich fertile soil, where they grew well, giving a good crop.
Jesus explained, “God’s words are like the seeds. People often hear what God says but the Devil hardens his heart. So, the words do not enter his heart. Many have shallow hearts like the rocky ground. They hear God’s words with joy, but do not remember them for long.”
Jesus further explained, “Some people hear the words but are more interested in the worldly things around them. It ultimately makes them forget. But some people believe in God’s words and this grows like the seeds on fertile soil. It results in a strong and good harvest of faith, goodness and love.”